How to Listen to My iTunes Music in My Car

By Martin Cole

Blasting your favorite song on a lonesome drive is a lot like listening to your iPod; you retreat into a musical bubble where the trials of life seem a distant mirage. So stop rummaging around for CDs or listening to whatever the radio pumps into your ears, and connect your iPod to your car stereo. Buy one of these three devices---available from most electronics and music stores---and play your iPod through your car's speakers in minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • iPod or iPhone
  • FM transmitter and car radio, or
  • Cassette adapter and car cassette player, or
  • 3.5mm male to male extension cable
  • Car stereo with an auxiliary input

Auxiliary Input

Step 1

Check your car stereo for an auxiliary jack. This will look like the small hole in your iPod that you plug your headphones into.

Step 2

Purchase a 3.5mm male to male stereo cable, available for less than $4 as of October, 2010. This will look like a headphone cord but with an extra connector plug where the headphones would be.

Step 3

Plug one of the connectors into your iPod headphone output---where you would normally plug in your headphones---and the other into the auxiliary jack you located on your car stereo.

Step 4

Turn on your iPod and select a song. It will play directly through your stereo.

Cassette Adapter

Step 1

Buy an iPod cassette adapter, available for less than $9 as of October, 2010.

Step 2

Plug the connector cord from the cassette adapter into your iPod headphone output, the hole that you use to connect your headphones.

Step 3

Insert the cassette adapter into the tape player.

Step 4

Use your iPod as normal and the sound will play through your car stereo.

FM Transmitter

Step 1

Purchase an iPod FM transmitter, prices range from $8 to $80 as of October, 2010. Some of the more expensive options include a remote control that attaches to your steering wheel or have better sound quality compared to the cheaper transmitters.

Step 2

Connect the transmitter to your iPod dock connector, the same place you would plug in your charger.

Step 3

Turn on your iPod

Step 4

Search your car radio for a station that has minimum or no noise, and select that frequency on your FM transmitter.

Step 5

Play a song on your iPod, and it will stream to your car stereo speakers---providing the radio is always set to the same frequency as the FM transmitter.

Tips & Warnings

  • Look for an FM transmitter that will charge your iPod as it works.
  • The auxiliary input and cassette adapter methods will not charge your iPod as they work. Buy a cigarette lighter iPod charger for less than $5 as of October, 2010.
  • Check the packaging---or product description if you're shopping on-line---of the FM transmitter you want to buy for iPod compatibility.
  • Some of the products available will leave your iPod hanging loose in your car and vulnerable to damage in sudden stops.
  • Sound quality on the cassette adapters can be quite low.
  • FM transmitters can work poorly in cities with lots of radio stations.